Alexander Graham Bell (Dictionary of World Biography: The 19th Century)
Article abstract: One of the major inventive geniuses of modern times, Bell created and perfected the telephone and greatly advanced the teaching of the deaf.
The second of three boys, Alexander Graham Bell was born into a Scottish family prominent in the field of elocution. Both his grandfather Alexander Bell and his father, Alexander Melville Bell, taught the subject. The former invented a technique to check stammering, while the latter became a major innovator and author in corrective speech. His mother, Eliza Grace Symonds Bell, a portrait painter and musician, educated her son until his tenth year. After three years of formal schooling, he spent a year in London with his grandfather, who inspired the young Bell with his deep commitment to the study of the science of sound. Bell then taught music and elocution as a student teacher in Elgin, in the midst of which he spent a year at the University of Edinburgh. During 1866-1867, he taught at a college in Bath, England. Thus, he was largely family-taught and self-taught; his black, penetrating eyes and intense, though modest, manner attested his inquiring mind.
Bell’s genius had begun to reveal itself in 1864, when, at the age of seventeen, he undertook his first experiments in the science of sound, followed the next year by initial work in the application of electricity to transmitting speech via sound waves....
(The entire section is 2210 words.)
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